A group of nine Theology students and two staff members recently embarked on a six-day trip to Rome to explore the city's religious history. The trip offered the opportunity for students to visit ancient Basilicas, admire the Sistine Chapel, and learn about the foundations of the Catholic faith. The students enjoyed a unique and insightful perspective on the city's religious and cultural heritage. Here, Theology student Heather shares an account of her unforgettable experience in Italy’s capital.

As a student of Theology at BGU, I have been fortunate enough to go on many trips. Trips included two week-long visits to London, the National War Arboretum, and Coventry Cathedral. However, the international trips to India and Rome have been the most memorable, as they provided unique experiences and cultural immersion.

We set off for our adventure in Rome on February the 12th 2023. Despite a groggy start to the journey, we eventually arrived in Rome at 6pm. Upon our arrival at Casa Santa Emilia, Marco, our driver, directed our attention to the stunning view from the garden, which would serve as the backdrop for the remainder of our stay and marked the first of many awe-inspiring moments.

During the following days of the trip, we had the opportunity to visit some of Rome's most iconic landmarks. Our itinerary included visits to the Vatican, where we marvelled at the stunning architecture of St. Peter's Basilica and the grandeur of the Sistine Chapel. We also explored the Piazza Navona, a bustling square filled with street performers and vendors and even watched a movie being made. The Trevi Fountain was another highlight, where we tossed coins into the water for good luck.

Climbing the Spanish Steps provided a breathtaking view of the city, and we also walked along the ancient Appian Way, visiting many catacombs along the route. The Castello St. Angelo was a fascinating medieval fortress, we had the opportunity to visit the Colosseum, and it was truly amazing to see this ancient amphitheater, with its grand arches and towering walls that have stood the test of time and we finished our sightseeing with a visit to the Forum, where we gained insight into Rome's rich history.

Visiting the Roman Forum allowed us to appreciate the immense power that emanated from this historic site, where ancient rulers once gathered to make important decisions that shaped the course of history. Overall, it was a truly unforgettable experience that left us with lasting memories of this beautiful city.

Spending time with our lectures on the trip added a personal touch to our experience. Interacting with them made them feel more human and approachable. One of my favourite moments was when one of our tutors, Mark said, "I come for the Gelato and Bones," which left a lasting impression on the group, and something we laughed about for the whole visit.

Another unforgettable experience was visiting the Capuchin Crypts, a series of six small chapels decorated with the skeletal remains of over 4,000 Capuchin monks, arranged in intricate patterns and designs and one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

The Papal Audience was a highlight of the trip, even though we waited in line for over an hour to see him. Finally, the dusk bus tour was an excellent way to end our time in Rome. The scenic views were breathtaking and provided us with many photo opportunities to capture memories that we will cherish for years to come. Overall, the trip was an incredible adventure that allowed us to connect with our lectures and learn all about the history of religion that Rome is steeped in.

Finding yourself suddenly surrounded by a group of master's students, third years, and second years can be a daunting and challenging experience. However, these individuals can quickly find a special place in your heart, and the people I travelled with will be people I remember forever!

- Heather, MA Theology

1st March 2023

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